Here we go again, with another round of dealing with set of sour grapes topped off by the “A” word delivered by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
It’s getting really tiresome when every time the Palestinian Authority reverts to form – and Israel refuses to lay itself on the sacrificial altar – the U.S. responds by waving international threats at us both. Especially when one of the flags waved at Israel is the silly “A” word.
It’s a plain fact that 99.9 percent of American diplomats and political leaders simply don’t “get” the reality of the Middle East.
The diplomats who are sent into the fray to “develop” or impose the latest solution to the complex problems existing between Israel and her neighbors are simply not equipped.
So they fail. It’s not their fault. It’s just not their ‘hood.
John Kerry is having a problem with this. Instead of accepting this reality gracefully, has collected his marbles and gone home to his boss with sour grapes.
But for the second time in less than a year, he has turned around and decided to fling the “A” word (apartheid) back at Israel. At least this time he included the Palestinian Authority in some of his recriminations.
Kerry told the Trilateral Commission in a closed-door meeting on Friday that if Israel doesn’t make peace soon, it could become an “apartheid state” like South Africa once was. A recording of the remark was obtained by The Daily Beast.
He also warned that a failure of talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority — which basically were dead on arrival in any case — could lead to a ‘resumption’ of PA Arab violence against Israeli citizens. He then went further and hinted that only a change of leadership on both sides could make a peace deal more likely.
The latter reveals his total ignorance of the region — since succeeding leaders on the Arab side generally just brush away the decisions of predecessors — or their own if the prevailing mood of the people doesn’t suit — in any case. Arab promises are rarely kept beyond a generation, if that long. Witness the numerous attempts at maintaining a unity government between Fatah and Hamas in the Palestinian Authority over the past seven years.
With regard towards the risk of ‘resuming’ PA Arab violence against Israelis, the man is living in a bubble because that violence never ended. Ask anyone who lives in Jerusalem, Judea or Samaria or drives on roads in any of the areas. I personally know people who were unable to make it to the Mount of Olives to visit the graves of loved ones this year due to the the violence — and that, while talks were supposedly in place. I know tour guides who could not take friends to certain market places in the Old City — a place we all agree is supposed to be an open tourist safe place — because of the risk to their safety.
As for apartheid, he is wrong on all counts, and even his own boss knows it. In 2008 then-Senator Barack Obama bluntly stated in an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg, “There’s no doubt that Israel and the Palestinians have tough issues to work out to get to the goal of two states living side by side in peace and security, but injecting a term like apartheid into the discussion does not advance that goal. It’s emotionally loaded, historically inaccurate and it’s not what I believe.”
Of course, Obama may have changed his mind since then, but personally I doubt it. If anything, there are more examples today than ever before of integration between Arabs and Jews, on both sides of the 1949 Armistice Line.
Stop in to the Rami Levi Supermarket at the traffic circle where Highway 60 intersects with the road into Gush Etzion. There you’ll see plenty of Palestinian Authority Arabs – observant and not – shopping and working together with Jews of the same ilk. Nearly all are residents of Judea and Samaria, living in towns near each other.
In Jerusalem, all of the top hotels employ Israeli Arabs and Palestinian Authority Arabs among their staff – as do all of the medical centers and hospitals. This year’s valedictorian at Haifa’s Technion University was an Israeli Arab woman in the medical school.
In most of the supermarkets in Be’er Sheva, Negev Bedouin Arabs and Jews shop and work together freely.
For that matter, take a drive over to the northern Negev city of Arad, up on the ridge overlooking the southern end of the Dead Sea. In either, sitting in the coffee houses you will see Negev Bedouin, Sephardic Jews from Brazil and Argentina, Middle Eastern Jews from Morocco and Tunisia, Ashkenazi Jews from the U.S., the UK and Canada, Sudanese, Russians who are Jewish and not, Ethiopian Jews, Black Hebrews and various tourists passing through.
The universities throughout the country are also all fully integrated – in fact, this has caused infinite difficulties at times with protests and political battles that rival the crazy fights that go on in the Knesset.
Really, Mr. Kerry, have you ever bothered to step outside your vehicle and into any other place in Israel for more than the five seconds it takes you to enter your hotel or conference destination? I do understand the security issues, and sympathize – but to toss around inflammatory words without having any idea whatsoever what daily life is actually like for the average Israeli, Jew or Arab, is simply irresponsible for a man in your position.
Oh, and by the way, while we are on the topic – one can have a “two state solution” with the Palestinian Authority without Israel having to hand over its sovereignty and its safety into the hands of bloodthirsty terrorists who are holding PA politicians hostage over the matter.
I’m just sayin’ . . .
In fact, the United States and nations in Western Europe have been doing it for years. You all have autonomous territories such as Puerto Rico, S. Thomas, Grenada and such.
There is no reason that Israel cannot come to a similar arrangement with the PA, which would ensure both their security and ours – and take the administrative and economic monkey off their backs once and for all.
It might also save Mahmoud Abbas’s life, since he is likely to be assassinated if he were to declare peace under any other circumstances. But I suppose that having been here in the neighborhood for a while, maybe you have figured that out by now. I have a sneaking hunch that even Ismail Haniyeh and Khalid Mashaal face the same dilemma from Iran these days. They’re all getting older and tired of having to face constant challenges to their authority.
Everyone is sick of it – but Iran has an endless supply of fresh blood, more weapons and money. So does Al Qaeda – the Salafi organization – and between the two, they’re about to tear Gaza right down the middle, something Hamas never expected and really doesn’t want. Of the three, crazy Hamas is actually the “moderate” in Gaza – isn’t that a scary thought these days?
So the best deal, the one that might help all of them out, would be for Abbas to take the heat (he’s 79 years old anyway, after all) and be the bad guy for saying he’s giving up and “forcing” the Israelis to “take over” the PA. It is Abbas who represents the PLO, as well as Fatah and the PA, to the United Nations. He can get it done.
Such a move would open the door to the third option – creating an Israeli version of Puerto Rico, a PA province that does NOT vote in the Knesset, but is autonomous in its administration. It would have to coordinate its economic, educational, communications and security standards with the State of Israel. That way we control the education curriculum and with G-d’s help prevent a diet of hate for the next generation, and end the constant incitement that is being fed to this one. Peace, at last, for all.
It’s win-win. Of course, the international community will hate it. It will deprive the Arab nations of their weapon against Israel. But it will allow the Palestinian Authority Arabs to finally have a normal life. It will get the political monkey off everyone else’s back. And perhaps we can all get back to the business of being neighbors.
Without anymore American assistance.
About the Author: Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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